Oprah Winfrey to Sell Harpo Studios in Chicago

Winfrey’s Harpo Studios will sell its four-building campus on West Washington Boulevard to Chicago developer Sterling Bay Companies in a sale and lease-back transaction

Monday, Mar 17, 2014  |  Updated 5:01 AM CDT
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Oprah Winfrey’s presence in Chicago will soon diminish even more.

Harpo Inc. said in a statement that it has entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay Cos. for the four-building campus on Chicago's West Side.

Crain's Chicago Business reported that about 200 people work at the 3.5-acre campus, which will sell for about $32 million. Harpo says it expects to close the deal in 30 days.

"We have entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay for the four-building Harpo Studios campus in Chicago's West Loop," Harpo told Crain's in a statement. "We expect the transaction to be closed in 30 days. The property will be leased back to Harpo for two years and the studio will continue to produce programming for OWN."

The potential sale process was first reported last October, with sources reporting Winfrey was considering several options, from selling some of the four buildings, refinancing the loans or conducting a sale and lease-back transaction.

Winfrey first came to Chicago in 1984 to the morning talk show, "A.M. Chicago." A month later, the show was No. 1 in the market and renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1985.

Winfrey moved to Harpo Studios in 1990 and is credited with transforming the once-gritty industrial area to a neighborhood filled with families and trendy restaurants.

Winfrey filmed "The Oprah Winfrey Show" at the studio from 1990 to 2011, when she ended the talk show to start her cable network.

In 2011, then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley named the street outside Harpo Studios "Oprah Winfrey Way."

The selling of her commercial real estate marks one of her final steps out of Chicago.

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